It is now well settled that in a claim for declaration of title to land, a plaintiff has the burden of proving his case on his own evidence and cannot rely on the weakness of the defendant’s case. If that burden is not discharged, the weakness of the defendant’s case will not help him and proper judgment will be for the defendant. See Kodilinye v. Odu (1935) 2 WACA 336 at 337; Odusanya v. Ewedemi (1962) 2 SCNLR 23, 1 All NLR 320; Atuanya v. Onyejekwe (1975) 3 SC. 161; Bashua v. Maja 11 SC. 143. However a plaintiff can take advantage of and rely upon evidence By the defence which supports his case. See Akinola v. Oluwa 1 SCNLR 352, (1962) WNLR 133. Realizing this principle of law, the learned counsel for the Appellants submitted in his brief that since both parties to the case agreed that the land in dispute was intimately connected with the Edo goddess, and the Chief Priest of Edo goddess had always come from the Appellant’s family, it necessarily followed that there had been a succession of Chief Priests who held the land in trust for the Appellants’ family which proved the root of their title. I do not think that this submission holds any water here. In the first place, the Appellants, apart from mentioning the names of Chief Priests who held that office in their family over the years, did not prove their ownership of the land or that they lived there without any interference, and in the second place, except the admission in the pleadings that the family of the Appellants produced the Chief Priests, no other evidence was given proving any title or ownership by the respondents at the trial. It is an after thought to bring it at this stage and cannot in my view be accepted to prove any root of title by the Appellants. Therefore the Akintola v. Oluwo case (supra) is not relevant here.
— U.A. Kalgo, JSC. Dike & Ors. V. Francis Okoloedo & Ors. (SC.116/1993, 15 Jul 1999)